There are health risks associated with bird flu…
With the worst-ever outbreak of avian flu resulting in 33.5 million dead or diseased hens and turkeys throughout the Midwest, it’s natural that people have questions about what it is and how it affects them. Aside from increasing the cost of eggs in bakeries and supermarkets, there are health risks associated with bird flu. Do what you can to get educated on what bird flu is and know the risks posed to you and your family. Here are the top five things to know about bird flu:
- Humans can catch bird flu. Although rare, it is possible for humans to get bird flu in the form of influenza A viruses. To most people, the risk from avian influenza is low, as this disease is generally confined to birds and not people. But there have been confirmed cases of human infection since 1997 resulting from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces where raw chicken was prepared, says the CDC. Proper cooking practices can guard against this, as well as washing your hands well after handling chicken. And no, standard flu shots you get from your doctor are not effective against the bird flu.
- You can still safely keep a flock of chickens. Households can still have a few chickens and not worry about a bird flu outbreak. Larger farmers with hundreds or thousands of birds have to worry about this more because if one bird is infected, the disease spreads like wildfire through the flock with little way to contain it.
- Symptoms of bird flu in humans include fever, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, eye infections and severe respiratory problems like pneumonia, according to CBS News. Just like the regular flu, the symptoms can be life threatening if not properly treated and caught right away.
- Bird flu is an infection brought on by the influenza virus, which most birds carry harmlessly in their intestines. However, sometimes this flu can make a bird very sick, which in turn spreads to other birds within a close proximity. Soon, hundreds or birds in one spot can be infected. Human can at least take measures to protect themselves from the flu, like washing their hands and keeping away from other people. Birds obviously do not, and as a result, it spreads quite quickly.
- Bird flu is sparking an egg shortage that is resulting in high egg prices for consumers, restaurants and bakeries. For example, New Jersey bakers are paying $75 for 30 dozen eggs. Throughout the Midwest, wholesale prices for a dozen eggs is now about $2.62, the highest it’s ever been, up a whopping120 percent from $1.19 just two months ago.
The effects of bird flu are sweeping the nation, causing egg shortages and sickness. Stay in-the-know about avian flu to protect yourself, your business, your flock and your family.